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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 22, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EST

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ery tempting solution for a nation which is increasing significantly economically. there is an a that suggests we have to be far more inclined to raise those issues with the chinese, which we have done to some extent, but even more important, to engage in deterrence by having the capability to respond effectively or to prevent an attempt from being successful. on the point you've just raised, which was about putin and how to contain him -- >> basically his reaction to this economic crisis that he is confronting. >> he is confronting a very serious economic crisis, which he is trying to deny. i think he is in the denial
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phase, but it is quite interesting how many of his former associates and political allies express growing concern. here the real question is not how severe the crisis is in russia, but the real question internationally is, will the russian economy implode in some significant, geopolitically-significant fashion first, or will ukraine implode in some significant geopolitical fashion first? a great deal of what putin is doing is not part of a comprehensive military invasion of ukraine, other than the specific seizure of crimea, but it is to sew discord disorganization, and the moralization -- demoralization.
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it is a regime that came to power after 20 years of very significant mismanagement of the ukrainian economy. the kind of needle-sticking in which putin is engaging against ukraine produces not only blood in some moderate fashion annoying and painful, but could produce a much more serious economic crisis in ukraine. this is why i think we have to, in a sense, more credibly convince putin that it is in his interest not to engage in this needle-sticking. we can make it unpleasant for him by arming the ukrainians, while at the same time reassuring him we are not trying to engage the ukrainians in nato membership. the arrangement we worked out together with others, with
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finland in 1945-1946, has worked pretty well. >> thank you, gentlemen. you co-authored a letter about the iranian negotiations suggesting additional sanctions against iran will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations. is that still your position? if congress adopted sanctions do you feel that would undermine negotiations and perhaps miss an opportunity not only in the nuclear realm but in the other areas of concern? >> yes senator.
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i think the system, the regime in iraq is different. we don't know how different, and we don't know what the results will be. their behavior is quite different from when ahmadinejad was the head of the government. it seems to me that we ought to try to take advantage of that. he foreign minister -- the foreign minister has served at the u.n. he is familiar with the west.
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they are talking different, and the mullahs are not nearly as though said first as they were before. does that mean anything? we don't know, but it seems to me it is worth testing. i think two things are likely to happen if we increase the sanctions. they will break the talks, and a lot of the people who have now joined us in the sanctions would be in danger of leaving, because most of the people who joined us in sanctions on iran didn't do it to destroy iran. they did it to help get a nuclear solution. >> basically, i have a similar perspective.
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i would only add to that, in addition to what he said, think the breaking off of the negotiations or the collapse of the negotiations would arrest and reverse the painful and difficult process of increasing moderation within iranian political life. we are dealing with an old generation of revolutionaries, extremists and so forth, but there is an iranian society, a significant chunk, with a more moderate attitude and more moderate lifestyle and a more tempting inclination to emulate western standards, including how in tehran women are dressed. all of that indicates that iran is beginning to evolve into what it traditionally has been, a very civilized and important historical country. we have to be very careful not to have this dramatically
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reversed, not to mention thing at a -- the negative consequences it would have for global stability, and the reduction in willingness iranian willingness in some fashion to prevent extremists and fanatics that are attempting to seize control over the muslim world from prevailing. >> dr. burzynski in september you are asked to comment about the situation in syria, and you indicated that the american role is definitely required, but that role essentially has to be very carefully limited. is that your view today, or do you have any other comments? >> that is still my view. i would go even further. i never quite understood why we had to help or endorse the
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overthrow of assad. i'm not really sure we knew what we were doing when we made the statement because there was no real action following on that. what has happened in the last two years or so since that happened is a demonstration of the fact that, whether we like it or not, a sad does have some -- assad does have some significant support in syrian society. that has to be taken into account. i don't think that those who oppose him, perhaps with the exception of the relatively small and weakest group who favor us -- he has a better standing than any one of them. he is still there. i think we want to in some
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fashion promote the end of the horrible bloodletting and the progressive description -- destruction of that country. we have to take that reality into account. >> general scowcroft, can you comment at all on this topic? >> i pretty much agree on syria. i wouldn't rule out that at some point we can get some support for resolving the most difficult situation for the russians. they have a big stake in syria and it seems to me that somewhere there is the possibility that we could have a
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cease-fire and a solid -- assad maybe steps aside. we agree that russia would play an important role in resolving that. among terrible choices, it is one we ought to examine. the russians have made a few comments in the last few days that they might be interested. >> may i just add one more point? i think the existing borders in the middle east have run out of life. they were never authentically historic. they were created largely by west colonial powers. part of the competition we face, in view of this violence not only just in syria, is the problem of stabilizing the region which has different
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preconditions for different borders or arrangements than the ones imposed right after world war i by the west. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for this hearing. i look forward to serving with you on the committee. almost no one in america has traveled and have the depth of experience that senator mccain has had. it is an honor to serve with him and hear his ideas on so many important issues of today's life. while reading dr. kissinger's book, "world order," he talks about the west's failing system. your remark touched me a bit. you mentioned china not being part of that history. the people of the middle east
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were also not part of any understanding. do we have a miscommunication in the sense of our understanding of the nationstates and the reality of the nationstate in that area, and a better understanding might make us more effective in responding to the challenges we face there? >> i think that is possible, but i think the middle east is a unique place. for centuries, it belonged to the ottoman empire, which loosely governed it. with the collapse of the ottoman empire after world war i, the middle east was redrawn. the map was redrawn.
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sykes-pico agreed arbitrarily to the interests of the british and the french had. that being said, those borders are in danger. they are tenuous. they don't represent much of anything. it is a very difficult region now, and unique in it's not participating basically in the european western system, russian system, or the chinese. >> has he indicated that we may be moving towards redrawing some of those boundaries or boundaries being altered in the next decade? either one of you can comment on that. >> i don't think we ought to
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engage in that. one of the things i think we should do is to start mending our relationships with egypt. egypt is a big player in the region, and because of its domestic problems, it has fallen off. they played a small role in the recent uprising, but we need help. hopefully, we can get more from turkey but i think the chances of us making it worse than better are worse. >> i think both of you for your insights. with regard to strategy, i believe it was mentioned earlier that we had a cold war strategy.
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everybody bought into it in a bipartisan way. the reality is, i think it is much harder for us to have a strategy in this more complex world. it seems to me that it is. i have been here now 18 years. i would share your concern that we need to be a bit more humble in what we can accomplish. the world is complex. people are not able to move from one century to the next overnight, and we need to be more responsible and thoughtful about how we exercise american power. in developing a strategy, do you see some things we might all agree on in the next decade or so that would be positive for the united states? >> i can certainly think of a lot of things we should agree on. i'm not sure we will agree.
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in order to agree, we've got to talk to each other. i'm not quite sure that in recent years particularly in face -- in facing the novelty of the challenges we face, that there has been enough of a bipartisan dialogue at the highest level, including you members of this distinguished committee and those who control the executive office. have to ask ourselves, how is the world different today? i am a little more skeptical of the west failing system being relevant because that system emerged in europe when they were already different countries with territorial definitions. china was unique in having a real advanced state earlier than europe, but the rest of the world is now coming into being.
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that contributes put -- politically. that contributes to the uncertainty and instability. what are the real borders in the middle east? a lot of the countries in the middle east speak the same language. why should they be here or there, or should they all speak the same language? should they have a single state if they speak the same, or should religion be the determinant for a nationstate? it will take a long time before it settles out. we should not be directly involved in imposing a solution. >> i appreciate that. with regard to members of congress, particularly members of the senate, i believe we talked together more collegially and with more common understanding about international relations and defense issues and we do -- then we do on just about any other
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subject. we do have some intensity of disagreement, some going back to the iraq war and so forth, but i think we are getting past that. i hope we can be more effective in working as a united country because that is the essential. thank you. >> thank you, chairman. mr. scowcroft, dr., welcome. i read last year a piece by thomas friedman that i found was very interesting where he described the islamic state by saying there were really three civil war's raging in the arab world today. one, the civil war between sunni islam, with an sunni islam between the radical jihadists and the mainstream sunni muslims and regimes, two the civil war between sunnis funded by civil -- saudi arabia and she is
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funded by iran, and then three sunni jihadists between all other minorities, the kurds, the christians, the jews, and the aloe whites --- alawites. he wrote, when you have a civil war with that many signs, there is no center. when you intervene in a region where there is no center, he very quickly become a side. i'm curious if either one of you would agree with that assessment, and if you would also return to what he spoke about earlier regarding how important it is that the fighting on the front lines against the islamic state be conducted by iraqis and regional partners and members of the coalition, as opposed to western or u.s. troops. >> i agree basically with it. i think there are, fortunately several states in the middle
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east that do show signs of a capacity for conducting responsible role. we have to rely on them. i doubt they are going to prevail very quickly. i don't think we have any other choice. i think getting involved in the internal dynamics, religious conflicts, sectarian animosities of the region is a prescription for protracted engagement of the kind that can be very destructive to our national interests. to be sure, there are some circumstances in which we have to act. we had to act after 9/11. we had to respond. i remember being called in with brent and henry. we were, of course, not participants and making a decision, but we would say
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something. i fully endorsed taking military actions against osama and his associates al qaeda. i looked to the secretary of defense donald rumsfeld and said, let's go in and knock them out and do what we can to destroy the taliban, which held government control in the country, and then leave. don't get engaged in development of democracy. maybe i was wrong. maybe time will demonstrate that i was wrong, but certainly i don't think anybody anticipated it would be 10 years, and certainly in the rest of the middle east, if we were to try that, it would be far longer. i think we have to face the fact that the region will probably be in some serious turmoil for a long time to come, and our bets ought to be on those countries which, the european countries --
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like the european countries, have already acquired some cohesion as states, but not try to do the heavy lifting ourselves. if we could get the russians and chinese to be more cooperative -- and they have a stake in being more cooperative -- we would be better off. each of them could be tempted to sit on the sidelines and think the americans will get more engaged, and this will improve our interests in competing here or there. i don't think that is a smart solution in the long run for them. it takes someone like us to indicate to them that we would like to collaborate with them in some limited steps in helping the moderates in the middle east in different ways. they have different aspirations. >> mr. stonecroft? -- scowcroft? >> i largely agree on that. i think we have to be a participant in the middle east but we should not want to be an
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ogre. we ought to help those states which we think are trying to produce, if you will, a moderate system. that is why i mentioned egypt. egypt is a serious power, and they are of the region, and they do have great capability. we don't have much of the discussion going on with them now, but there is a new government. i think that is one. we should look to turkey as an ally of ours. the turks are in a very difficult position now with syria. it seems to me we ought to be
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careful and use foursquare it accomplishes specific -- use force where it accomplishes specific ends. for example, trying to go in and end the syrian war, i don't think we want to own syria. it is a very complicated country , as are some of the others in the middle east, and i agree with him basically. we have to be in the middle east but not of the middle east. >> thank you both. >> i want to thank both of you for being here, and thank you so much for everything you've done. i wanted to follow-up on your comments, dr. burzynski, about peyton and that, in fact, you are concerned about some of the statements that have been overlooked that he has made that have referenced nuclear weapons
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including some of the overflights that russia has undertaken in scandinavia, less portugal, other areas. i wanted to follow up in light of the potential and i think actual violation of the imf treaty that i know, general scowcroft, you have written about. in fact, i think you wrote in august of 2014 that there should be a real concern to nato because they have embarked on an across-the-board modernization of their nuclear forces, and if russia has developed a nuclear ground half and launched -- a ground-lunch nuclear cruise missile, that system could reach all of nato europe. how do you view, both of you, the idea of the violation of this treaty in light of where we are right now and some of the
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statements you have heard putin make? what should our concern be about that? i appreciated your comments that we have to show commitment and determination to putin. i would like to get both of your thoughts on this violation, what it means for their nuclear programs, our interactions with them. >> i don't think he will go all the way and violating the nuclear treaty. i am more concerned about his misinterpreting what has happened recently. let's go back more than a year. i wonder how many people in this room or on this very important senatorial committee really anticipated that one day putin woodland military personnel in crimea and sees it. if said that's what he was going
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to two, he or she would be labeled as a warmonger. he did it, and he got away with it. i think he is also drawing lessons from that. i will tell you what my nightmare is. one day, he just seizes riga and talin, latvia, and estonia. it would literally take him one day. we would say, how outrageous how shocking, but of course, we can't do anything about it. it has happened. we are not going to assemble a fleet in the baltics and engage in amphibious landings and storm the shore like normandy to take it back. we will have to respond in some larger fashion perhaps but then there will be voices -- this will plunge us into nuclear war.
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we have to create a situation in which someone planning and action like that has no choice but to anticipate what kind of resistance he will encounter. i recommend pre-positioning of some forces. an american company in estonia is not going to invade russia, and putin will know that, but he will know that if he invades estonia, he will encounter american forces on the ground, and better still, some germans some french, some brits. i think if we do that kind of stuff, we are consolidating stability. i don't think putin plans to invade ukraine as a whole. that would be too dangerous.
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you cannot simply predict what would happen. this continuous pinprick in -- pinpricking can involve escalation. there are russians, at least in the hundreds and in terms of some nato accounts, sums thousand, fighting in ukraine against an established country. this is something that cannot be ignored. sanctions, yes. in the long run, they create an attitude, a concern in russian society, which will deprive putin of his popular support this ecstatic sense, we have become a superpower again, but in the short run, we have to also deal with his motivations. the only way to do that is to indicate to him by tangible steps, such as defensive arming of the ukrainians, that we will be involved in some fashion in making that military engagement more costly. at the same time, indicate to
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him we are prepared to settle send him a signal about non-nato participation for ukraine. that to me is a strategy of responding to the possibility that you rightly raise. >> without taking those steps as i said are you saying you believe the economic sanctions alone will not deter him -- >> i am afraid that economic sanctions alone will damage him in the meantime. there is a kind of implicit race of which economy will collapse first. ukrainian government still not in full control of its entire society. it is putting together rapidly a makeshift army, and it is getting very little support in that regard from the outside. i'm not suggesting that the ukrainians beyond to wage an offensive war against the russians but i do urge that we do something to make putin ask
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himself before he escalates -- am i going to be in something much bigger, and what will that do to me? that is central. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate this hearing you are having for all of us. i'm so sorry that you see some of us running back and forth. we had a veterans committee meetings. i hope i don't ask the same questions that have been asked. i am trying to learn as much as humanly possible about syria iran,.the sanctions on iran , as you know, we are in a tug-of-war -- should we or should we not? the president has said, don't sign it now. you will mess up the deal if we do. i understand that my colleagues are concerned about all the time that has gone by, and we haven't had a briefing to tell us where they are. have they succeeded?
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are they taking centrifuges out? is this something the president should be able to use that if they don't follow through and do it there supposed to do, this is where the sense of the united states congress is, and they will follow through? these are all things i haven't made up my mind yet, and i'm trying to. also, syria -- i know we have a lot of people who feel strongly. i don't think they can succeed must they have our direct leadership in prodding them. also, our airstrikes cannot be as effective as they could be if we do not have ground intelligence and support. i understand that. i just don't believe we should have massive forces on the ground as we have in the past. that is my belief. i know some of my colleagues differ. with special forces, we can do certain things.
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make no mistake if they make a fool of america, we will hit hard. $500 million to train syrians does that have the possibility of being successful? could we be doing something more? how about the kurds? they seem to be the only people in that part of the world that want to fight have an identity. how in the world do we get the turks to participate and the saudi's to participate? syria and iran are the two things that would be very helpful to me. i think i need both of your opinions, if possible. >> on iran, i don't think anybody knows whether or not negotiations will work, but we are in the course of
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negotiations now. i think we should see them out and not take steps which would destroy the negotiations. >> we were told, in all due respect, that the first time if we would sign a letter showing that we intended that these sanctions would take place, it would weaken the president's hand. we went ahead and signed it anyway, and there has been extensions. that is the hard thing i am having a problem with. >> it is hard, but i think the outlines are sufficiently clear now -- very complicated but clear -- i think we are in the home stretch. to change our strategy now might
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work, but i wouldn't do it at this stage. i would wait and see if the administration is successful. >> doctor, your thoughts on syria, our training and the commitment that we have, whether there might be a better investment somewhere else? >> i am not sure whom>> we would train. in fact, the groups hostile to assad are stronger than those who seem to rely on us. i think there are not terribly many syrians who want us to wage a more intense war. they don't know what that war would be. the other groupings have the advantage over us of either being more sectarian and specifically identified as such,
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or identify with regional goals that have some historic connection to the world as the syrians perceive it. i think some sort of cease-fire discussions would be the better outcome for us than an escalation of the war. as far as iran is concerned don't forget we are not the only negotiator, and all of the parties negotiating, including our closest allies, as well as the russians and chinese favor continuation of the negotiations for reasons specific to their own interests. if the negotiations broke down, the whole process would collapse, and then what would be the alternative? should we attack or bomb them and make the war in the middle east more explosive? why should we do this?
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i don't see any benefit to the united states in that transpiring. we have made some progress. whether we have made enough, i don't know. whether the negotiations have been perfectly conducted or not, i don't know either. i do have a feeling that there has developed a common stake with key countries in the world which we shouldn't unilaterally abandon just because we are being pressured to do so. >> thank you both so much. i appreciate it. >> i'm sure you noted yesterday the signing of an agreement between iran and russia, a military cooperation deal. senator tillis? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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with the changing of the administration, there were clearly some changes in foreign-policy strategy. i am interested in your view over the past five or six years -- if you were engaged in the strategy formulation what things would you suggest that we stop doing? what things would you suggest that we start doing, and what should we continue to do? in other words, an objective assessment of things that are working and things that need improvement in the middle east. >> wow. [laughter] for one thing, i think we have to continue doing what we have perhaps her to doing, which is encouraging those states in the middle east that have some historical identity and some capability to act rather than to wait for us to do the job overall. the countries we have mentioned
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in varying degrees, are tempted to have something done, but want us to carry the heavy water and are not clear about their aspirations. that leaves us in a difficult position. if we undertake to do what is necessary, we buy the whole thing. we buy the whole conflict, and it becomes our baby. if we sit back, it may deteriorate. we have to find some formula in between. i happen to be an admirer of secretary kerry. i think he has been trying very energetically to find some viable compromise. it is difficult to achieve it in these conditions. perhaps this painful process we are now witnessing in that region will continue for some time to come, but the better part of wisdom in these circumstances in my judgment is the one that brent and i have been both advocating, which is a
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policy of very selective engagement, which prevents the killers, the fanatics, the extremists from winning. i think we can do that. we don't have to do much more than that to maintain that. >> can you give examples of what selective engagement would look like? >> somewhat along the lines of what is currently being practiced, which is air strikes intelligence, political assistance, financial assistance and a willingness to change our position on some issues, such as -- there are unclear motives for trying to get rid of assad. i don't quite understand why we are so eager to get him out of office. is he that much worse than some other regimes in the area?
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is he our enemy? was he conspiring against us? there were specific regional reasons why the war started by countries in the region. i don't think that was our cup of tea, and we sort of got involved in it. >> mr. schoolcraft, you made the comment that we need to be in the middle east and not of the middle east. can you give me an example of what that means in terms of policy execution? >> yes, i think it means we should guide help, cyst, but not be a player in ourselves. that is, ground troops. i think what we are doing in syria is ok.
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it was an emergency. i think we should not carry the burden on that, much less being of the region, ground troops. we don't know what the best outcome for syria is. it is very complicated. we need to help our friends. we need to encourage others to be more helpful. the turks, for example, have a heavy interest in the kurds, not necessarily the kind of interest at the kurds want them to have. we need to be careful all the way through and help those who want to do what we think would improve the situation without it
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belonging to us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to join in you for thinking -- four thanking you for holding this important hearing. i want to thank both of our witnesses not only for being here but for your long-standing service to our nation. each of you have contributed enormously to the readiness and preparedness and performance of our armed forces in protecting our national security. i want to focus on an area you mentioned in your opening statement, mr. schoolcraft --
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scowcroft. ciber. it illustrates how the nature of warfare is changing. perhaps i could ask each of you how you think we need to be better prepared not only in the mechanics of cyber intelligence and cyber warfare but also in the education of our country as to the importance of this very complex area, which is also probably going to be increasingly important. >> i think that cyber is of increasing importance. i believe we are just touching
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the surface and that we could profit by some innovative thinking about how we can approach that problem and how we can get other countries, like the chinese for example involved in ways that are helpful. we may have to try several different things, but the potential danger of cyber, not just to us but to those who are practicing it now should enable us to have some serious discussions with other countries. we also need a serious discussion within the united states too. the government and some of our
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industries are not cooperating in the way which could really move the ball forward. this is a ball that looks different to different people. >> do you think our response for example, to the sony attack should be more robust and vigorous? >> i think you need to know more about it before you answer the question. it depends who really pushed the attack. what kind of reaction is best to move the ball forward and to give us a better grip on how we can deal with this difficult situation? >> do you have any observations? >> i don't have an answer. i have a comment.
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this is a hypersensitive issue both in terms of what it involves and the need for secrecy in dealing with it. basically, we have to seek two objectives. one is to develop some predictable community against some preemptive action by hostile forces. i alluded to that possibility. that will require major efforts and major expenditure and probably move us into a field which we haven't fully explored. the second is to have a preemptive capability, a preemptive capability to preempt action of that sort or matches action against us tit-for-tat. i don't want to be too specific about who the enemy might be.
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i don't think we need to create public hysteria on the subject but it certainly stands to reason that there are some countries in the world that might think that cyber warfare against the united states is the best way to preempt the whole issue and to change the balance of power. i think we are still in the very early phases of responding to that. something like the united states was in 1943, 1944 when we got serious about nuclear weapons. >> i want to thank you. my time has expired. we barely touched or scratched the surface, but i would just offer the observation that our private sector probably is less prepared than it should be. our military, or at least our
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civilian leadership, had the opportunity to provide more incentives maybe more compulsory measures to ensure that we are better prepared in the private sector against these kinds of attacks. certain kinds of attacks are as much as threat to national security whether they are to our financial system, our utilities, even a corporation like sony -- i shouldn't say, even a corporation like sony, which employs people and has an important impact on our society. take you, mr. chairman. -- thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you both very much. my observations and conclusions from what you said that
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reconcile with me. let's look at the iranian situation. do you agree with me that whatever chance there is to get a deal with iranian nuclear ambitions, we should take it? whatever opportunity we have to get a peaceful resolution to their nuclear ambitions, we should pursue that diplomatically? just say yes. >> yes. [laughter] >> i am not trying to trick you. i agree with that. but one thing we should never allow to happen is to allow iran to get a nuclear weapon. do you both agree with that? >> yes. >> that would open up a nuclear arms recent middle east. whatever problem we have today would get exponentially worse. how do we find a peaceful resolution to the iranian nuclear ambitions, the primary goal i share with you? do you agree that the iranians
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have been trying to build a bomb? their past behavior would suggest that they were trying to get a weapons get ability? >> yes, i think there was a phase. >> do you agree that congress may actually make things worse if we pass sanctions, but we should have a say about the final outcome through a one to three nuclear review process under the atomic energy act? does that make sense? let the negotiations go forward but when a deal is reached would it be ok with both of you if congress had a chance to review it to see if it was a good deal? would that be a good outcome? >> i don't know that i am equipped to say that. >> we have in the past approved 24 agreements regarding civilian nuclear programs between the united states and foreign powers. all i am suggesting is, let the administration pursue a deal
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with the p5 plus one. if they reach an agreement bring it to congress for our review and our approval. do you think that makes sense? would that be a good check and balance? >> i think that depends also on the other partners in the negotiations. we are not the only ones. >> congress is not going to allow the french or iranians to tell us what to do. but we are trying to say to you and the administration is that we don't want to disrupt the last best chance to get a deal but we don't want to be dealt out either. he liked to have a say. under the atomic energy act section 123, congress has reviewed deals between the u.s. and foreign powers. would that be a provocative thing for congress to do, look at the deal after the fact? >> well, let me take a stab at this. you will do it anyway, won't you?
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>> the question is, should we do it? >> i think that depends on the nature of the relationship between the other powers and how much you are informed. you will make the judgment yourself. >> fair enough. let's get back to syria. this conflict started when people went to the streets in syria petitioning assad to have a better life in syria. do you agree with that? >> that is one of the things anyway. >> you just made an observation that most people now are going to say i have dignity. i'm not going to let the guy down the street only how to live . we can now read and see how life could be. that is a good thing. to you both agree that the individuals in the world -- [indiscernible] >> it certainly is. >> would you like to live in assad's syria?
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can you understand why millions of syrians believe that assad's syria is not what they want to pass on to their children? can you understand why people around the world who do not want to live under to telling dictatorships -- totalitarian dictatorships? you people are fed up. i would like to help those in people and in the process, not blow up the world. do you agree with the president that the goal should be to defeat and destroyed i saw -- isil? degrade and destroy isil, that should be the united states's goal? >> i will speak for myself. i think it is important that we do what is necessary from the standpoint of our national interests. if isil kills our people, we should act. >> do you agree with the goal
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the president has stated that it is in our national interest to degrade and destroy isil? >> i support that, but it depends on how we do with. i don't want us to be the protagonists and others to sit back. >> do you agree with that? >> yes. >> do you think the strategy in place today will reach that goal? >> no. >> i don't know if it is working. i think it will take a long time. there is a mix of motivations in the region. >> i just got back from the mideast. nobody believes it is working. the best solution for my point of view would be to get an islamic coalition together. it doesn't have to be all arab. an islamic coalition to go in on the ground in syria and take isil down in the name of islam
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saying, you do not represent this great religion. we are here to take you on and destroy what you stand for. would that be a good outcome to have a coalition of the religion to go in and take isil down? >> if it is spontaneously formulated and that created by us, yes. i think if we tried to create it, it wouldn't work. >> finally, should we support such an effort giving capacity where we have a unique capability? i am not advocating 100,000 american troops on the ground, but i am advocating that the longer this problem goes, the more likely we are to get hit here. i'm advocating that america cannot sit on the sidelines and let 300,000 syrians get slaughtered because it is complicated. i'm advocating that we defeat this enemy to mankind, not just to islam, and that we give the -- get the islamic world engaged and provide capacity when they have will, airpower, special
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forces, intelligence. gentlemen, what i will not accept is the status quo that it is ok to not go after these guys because it is not ok. my only plea is that you would have an open mind to a ground component where we play a role, not the leading role, before it is too late. thank you both for your great service to this country. >> would you like to make a response to that tirade? [laughter] >> i wouldn't call it a tirade. i thought it was very sincere and impassioned but i don't think that deals sufficiently with the complications of the region. there are different countries in the region. there are some regimes we can work with. there are some that are playing a double game. last but not least, there is
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unfortunately, much more support for a side in syria that we would have wished or anticipated. >> general, would you like to make a comment on the exchange that just took place? i think it was important. >> syria is a most difficult place. it is next to lebanon, probably the most mixed up in terms of different groups of any area in the middle east. i think i understand the concern. i am reluctant sitting here to get into the executive and
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legislative struggles, but i think we ought to do what we can without getting ownership again. we have not only the syrians to worry about. we have to worry about the turks too. the kurds are very heavily engaged. they have different notions about their own future. >> do you support a no-fly zone that turkey has been asking to protect the free syrian army from further destruction, a no-fly zone to give people a chance to regroup? >> i think we -- i would consider that. i would not use air power to do it. there are some 20 airfields in syria.
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we could bomb the runways of all of them with missiles and keep bombing them and in effect ground their air force. i would have no problem doing that. >> >> i don't think that solves the larger problem. >> i thank you. i think it's been a very important exchange. senator king. >> thank you senator. i apologize for coming in and out. i had a meeting with mr. carter who as you know has been nominated by the president to be secretary. you mentioned something very interesting which suggested that given the threat of terrorism to russia as well as other parts of the world, does this create an opportunity for an aligns with russia to deal with an issue like isis that might be an opening to a more
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general settlement in syria that we have a common interest in dealing with this terrorist threat? >> yes, but i wouldn't use the word alieans because that goes too far. regional cooperation might be in their interest and our interest for reasons i've mentioned. they are potentially exposed themselves and it would make it more difficult for the russians to is it on the sidelines. they own part of the responsibility for the problems in the middle east in terms of previous policies. and much of the sime applies to china. >> i would think the russians would see this in their own national interest. >> one would have to assume that's the case because they have a national interest. >> a second question. i was delighted to hear you talk about the threat of cyber. i sort of feel like we're
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ignoring a threat that is right in front of us. we had the sony -- what if sony had been the new york stock exchange or gas pipeline. i've never seen an issue where we've had more warnings and doing less. i hope you concur this should be one of congress's highest priorities to deal with the cyber threat. do you agree with that? >> yes i agree with that. we're still at step one and i think we need the very serious analysis of what the character of the problem is, what are alternatives to take a more positive role and which one we should select. >> i thought one of your sbugsgses was a reprice of the
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detrux strategy of the 1950's in the cyber area to create a deter nt, not only a defensive posture but a deter nt posture. could you elaborate than a bit? >> i use that only to show how serious a threat i think cyber is. it is on the par with nuck weapons. it doesn't kill people itself but it can destroy a country, the banking system. >> i hope what you said today in that aal ji is a headline tomorrow. because we've got to deal with this issue. one other area of concern dr. brzezinski, i'm very interested in developing a strategy beyond
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add hock military intervention to deal with isis and the whole issue of jihaddist and extremism. could you talk about what you would think would be the elements of an anti-extremist strategy beyond just military response? >> some form of cooperation with the more moderate and more established states in the region in creating viable outcomes that consolidate well being. this has been mentioned. it's turkey, could be iran under some circumstances. could be saudi arabia which otherwise might face serious international problems. it certainly is egypt and on a
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more limited basis it includes lebanon and jordan with the latter being close to an exclosive situation given number of refugees that have flowed into the country. there is common interest here but it should not be focused primarily on american military action as such though we have the right of self-defense and we have the right to deal with threats that become extensive enough to the possibility of destabilizing the region. we should be very careful not to proclaim our actions are somehow or other anti-jihaddist. you used the term. because we don't want to convey to that part of the world that we in any way are engaged in a religious war against them. jihad means holy war.
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and so we don't -- >> anti-extremist might be a better term. >> exactly. fy gnat i cans. -- fanatics. but avoid saying we're engaged in a struggle against jihaddist because some say that's holy war. >> that's a good point. i appreciate that. the other side is we have to be very careful in this country to not lump in the muslim world with these extremist. i think that also is a recruiting poster for them if we do that. this cannot be a war between west and islam. >> that's right. >> thank you mr. chair.
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>> gentlemen thank you very much for your service to our cuntrifment i apoll -- country. i apologize for not being here for the entire discussion this morning. i have a question i'd like to focus on. that has to do with the national security strategy that was last presented in 2010. my understanding is that normally that would be updated or had been expected to be updated in 2014. the q.d.r. was presented and completed based upon the 2010 strategy that was in place. i don't understand but i was hoping you might give us your thoughts a little bit about whether or not that strategy that was completed in 2010, whether or not with all of the changes today, particularly those issues in the middle
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east, changes in terms of russia and what has happened since 2010, whether or not the q.d.r. we currently operate with and the strategy in 2010 and we operate today whether or not we are missing something here and does it really matter? is it time for congress to take a different approach in terms of looking at the overall strategy when it comes to our national defense? >> that's a veff difficult question to answer -- very difficult question to answer. i think my sans both. the congress is responsible for providing funding for a particular strategy for the military themselves. the president is in charge of the armed forces.
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that's the kind of cooperation that is getting increasingly difficult but it still is the way we have to proceed. and when you do unilaterally the kind of things like sequester, it destroys what is needed which is consent between the congress who is responsibility is the armed forces and the president who rups the armed forces. -- runs the armed forces. >> i would add to this and maybe this is not what you have in mind that i think there is a bit of a problem in that the state department has a policy planning council that presumably plans for diploma
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si. defense department has agencies. cri has its own view how the world is changing. i'm not aware of any large systematic effort to define national objectives and to help the president think it through and eventually endorse it as a kind of overall national security planning mechanism. i think we could use that and perhaps that would be helpful in clarifying some issues. >> would you consider that to be new in terms of how we have operated or is that something which have you both seen the interactions between the administration and congress over a period of decades is this new? is this something which people have looked at and said that's the way it is or is this something that clearly presents
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a threat in terms of how we do systematically the planning for the defense of our country? >> i think we ought to take a look. i don't know if it's new or not. i think we ought to take a look at the existing system. my sense is we don't really have in the white house a service to the president when he makes his decisions a deliberate effort at creating what might be called a national security plan for four years or whatever and the administration is in office. other agencies do that. and i think that creates perhaps some of the uncertainties to what exactly we're doing. >> i just have one more thought on this. it seems to me that when we talk about anytime business when we talk about those issues
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that are important versus on a day-to-day basis those issues urgent and in front of us, and we tend to focus on the urgent as opposed to the critical or important, would you care to comment right now when we look at the defense of our country and the issues our military men and women face around the world today, of those items all appearing to be in front of us regularly, the urgent issues, have they clouded our ability to keep in front of us those important issues that we are losing sight of? >> i don't know how to answer that. >> i think the answer is probably yes. but it is not an easy thing to do to bring all the elements of the government together on such a thing as our national
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military strategy. we've tried different things. some worked better than others. but it is also a political exercise as well as a strategic exercise. and i don't think we have developed anything which is goes beyond bureaucratic to genuine steps forward. but i think we ought to keep trying. >> thank you. >> i look forward to working on this committee in continued
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with my colleagues and i thank both of the witnesses for their presence today. what is each of your opinion about the need for congress to expeditiously work on an authorization of military force to cover the war on ice sill which is now y sill which is now in its sixth month? >> i'm not sure how to answer that. i think we should not be more involved in the isis exercise. i believe that this is a case where the riege season being threatened and the powers of the region are being threatened, the states of the region are being threatened and we ought to encourage and help
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them to respond but not respond for them. that's a difficult line. but i think it's an important one. because the middle east is -- does belong to the middle east countries. and we tuth encourage them to be behave responsibly. >> dr. brzezinski. >> in different ways i think we ought to strive to engage the other major powers in the world to be involved. it shouldn't be our baby only and i have in mind particularly russia and chinenafment secondly i think we have to minimize the visual involvement in the problem of other powers who could be helpful but whose record in the region is so negative because of their involvement with colonialism they in fact handicap the effort of dealing effectively with the region. and third we have to try and
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involve those states in the region that have both viability of sorts and some inclination to be moderate. >> have you each answered my question in the strategic and tactical sense. and i meant it in the institutional and constitutional sense. the president started a campaign on the 8th of august that is in it sixth month. based on the two previous authorizations done in 2001 and 2002 the president last night said congress should do an authorization and weigh in and vote about whether this is in the national interest. do have you an opinion whether that is an important matter for congress to take up? >> since he's acting commander in chief i should think he's entitled to make that question qu and probably congress should consider it if for no other
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reason it helps to consolidate national unity on that complicated issue. >> on the tactical side, let me do a followup question. there has been much discussion about the role of ground troops as necessary in iraq or syria to defeat the threat of i sill. syrian trained syrian moderate. what do you think of using the united states ground troops in the mission in iraq or syria? >> except in very special individual circumstances where the use of ground forces would be very limited in terms of mission, boots on the ground as far as theth united states is concerned. i think the climate is so uncon jiegial to us doing it, it will
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be a conflict which will be extremely costly and difficult for us alone to win. >> the president has announced a plan to withdraw u.s. forces complotely from afghanistan by the end of 2016. should the u.s. actions with respect to its forces in afghanistan be based on a date on the calendar or on conditions on the ground and whether there is sufficient stability to allow us to withdraw without plunging the country back into a chaos that could affect the region and the world? >> you can't entirely separate the two. but you have to take into account that at some point a prolonged engagement at the very least begins to create its own emphasis and you begin to be stuck with resentment from the people in the region. so some end line is necessary. >> i think in the case particular case of afghanistan,
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an end line right now is not the right way to go. it is my sense that afghanistan has made considerable progress that. the new leadership shows great promise and that what their military security forces really need is a sense of u.s. hand on their shoulder. we're back here. we'll give you some advice. we'll help you here. we're not bailing out on all the effort we've put in in past years. i believe -- i don't know how many thousands but a few thousand forces would pay us back big dividends if
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afghanistan moves forward in the direction it seems to be moving and it is certainly worth a few thousand troops to be that hand on their shoulder. >> thank you. ? this has been very helpful. let's talk about russia and nato. when russia innovated georgia, about all we could do was talk about it and denounce it. when russia took the action they took in cry me. a treaty ally of ours whose border we promised to defend if they gave up nuck weapons, mill drk nuclear weapons, military action was off the table. it would not call for military
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action by the united states. but dr. brzezinski, you draw a line when it comes to the baltic states. and i'd certainly want to agree with you there. let me ask you this, could you explain a little more your idea about work with nato on trip wires in the baltic states? what do you think about that idea as you understand it having been described? and what can we do to get our nato allies to take national defense and western defense responsibilities seriously? we asked them to spend a mere 2% of their g.d.p. on the military and frankly it's only two or three that do that. if you'd comment on those and dr. brzezinski you can begin. >> first of all, on your last
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question, i think we should address that in nato and perhaps some device, some procedure could be formulated whereby nato members which fail to meet that 2% standard lose some of their entitlement to participate in key decisions. i don't know precisely how to work that out but seems to me if you don't pay, you don't decide. and that might make them more conscious of the fact that collective obligations should be treated seriously. in so far as the guarantee of the baltic countries. what i said earlier i'll repeat. i think the russians don't know how active we would be in saving them for one reason or another. the leader of the russian federation decided that he can get away with seizing, with a
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quick action which all together alters the situation which he finds so abhorrent, namely the creation of independent states or the recreation of independent states in the place that occupied in the late 1930's and 1940's. we would be faced with a horrible situation because we don't have the means to stage warfare that results in the landing of our forces and then gradual ground war presumably in the territory of the baltic states and their expulsion. so the only sensible step we can now take is to reposition some trip wire type forces forcing puten to consider seriously whether he's prepared to go in major conflict was. and if he does that, we have no choice but to respond.
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impose a worldwide embargo on soviet ships or airplanes or actions of semimilitary type which would be a response designed to impose further cost and including perhaps some occasional military engagements chosen elsewhere if we couldn't do something directly in the baltic. >> if we wouldn't defend our nato allies in the baltics, i don't know what our word would be worth. what do you think of this top snick >> i think that we don't want to recreate the cold war and i don't think it's necessary. i think if we want to do something trip wires -- nato is the trip wire to me.
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and i think if we want to tell what we will do if they do certain things then they better not, i don't have a problem with that. but i can see puten just trying to provoke us to spend more efforts. and i'm not sure it's necessary. i believe the contribution of some of the europeans to nato is deplorable and i think the fact is there are two facts. first of all, they don't feel threatened and secondly, they are basically exhausted after two wars. and they are just happy to leave everything up to us including paying for it. thri think we ought to give it some thought but my sense is we should get greater european
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support if we had ideas about how to use nato usefully now that to me a threat of a march of russian troops into western europe is not a reasonable thing to happen. >> let me ask you briefly if the chair will indulge. the only comments for this committee about the adequacy of our naval fleet at the present time, the chair in his opening remarks talked about the size of our military being roughly the equivalent to what it was after world war i. do we have enough ships? are we building enough ships? is our fleet adequate to protect national interest? >> i have not looked into that specifically so i can't give you a straightforward answer. >> i don't think any one of us has examined that kind of
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question. simply don't have an answer to that. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you both for being here. isis has said they are establishing a cal fate. and their cal fate they want to establish is a whole lot bigger than where they are right now. and so can we simply watch this ? can they be left in place if this is their goal when their goal also, if you don't share their religion you convert or you are killed. and they intend to expand. so how does the united states watch this when -- and i don't want to get into exact historical references and i don't mean to but we've seen this kind of thing before. >> well the danger is if we get
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involved directly in opposing them, we'll make it easier for them to promote the whole concept. >> i don't mean directly. i mean a's partner. mr. snowcroft you were talking about not getting more volved in isis actions. with training an arab army or advising, providing that kind of assistance, helping them to plan and train. do you think those are appropriate actions? >> i have no problem with training as appropriate action. but let's remember that isis or isil whatever you want to call it is down in the middle east. there are a number of our friends and allies who live in the middle east. would they be happy to just sit back and have us deal with the problem?
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maybe. but this is a problem which is a potential threat to other middle eastern countries. >> do you see us having a role though as a partner? >> yes i think a role in doing the kinds of things that they can't do encourage them in the things they can, we can help them know how to do absolutely but that's training. >> i don't think anybody is looking at our troops being the ground troops but being somebody who can help provide with the backbone and the planning the training, does that make sense to you? >> absolutely. >> it strikes me as no matter what we hope in being from indiana where we have suffered from them already, we've already lost sitses who have been kidnapped and killed by
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them. they continue to put plans together to cause other acktiths. with their stated goalsof further establishment of this and taking other activities, it would seem to me that we have to be engaged in some warm with our owners. -- partners. it's not something that stays static. >> i also agree is that. >> as you look at putin what do you think his endgame is in ukraine? >> to reverse what transpired a year or so ago. a descision by the ukrainian
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people to associate themselves and their long-range identity with the west. this is a historically significant component of the larger russian empire. he has this general concept of imperial restoration guiding him. the symbolism associated with it and therefore the. he has a lot of material trappings. he is prepared to use force to make that happen. we have no desire to intrude into russian security aspirations. a nation has a right to define itself voluntarily. that is a very complicated issue. he's clearly striving to
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destabilize ukraine, not risking an all-out invasion. >> if you take similar action in latvia with his little green men , goes into latvia and nato does not respond, is that in effect the end of nato? >> i would say so. nato is meant to be a collective alliance. if the united states does not respond, that would the result. conceivably, you could let him do it and take latvia and estonia. then we would mobilize nato to respond on a larger world front. that would be a much more risky prospect than i think.
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to create a tripwire where you make it clear that nato would be involved in the united states would be and therefore the risks are much, much higher than you might calculate in light of the operation seizing crimea. >> would you see that as, that is the end of nato? >> it would certainly be the end of nato if the soviet union moves into a nato neighbor. absolutely it would. i do not see that happening. putin is a nasty piece of work. i probably should not have said that. i do not believe he is evil incarnate. i think if we tell him quite clearly what we will not stand
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for in terms of nato members especially, there won't be such an action. >> the best way to tell him is to do something to make him think about it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here today. i appreciate your service very much. we have talked a lot about isis and the middle east. the fact that we do need partners in that region. those arab allies to come aboard. both of you have mentioned it as an aside comment. i would really like to understand.
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how can we do more you tell
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we ought to encourage that rather than taking their place. >> thank you. i do agree. i would love to more a more concrete method of engaging them. they do have a lot at stake in that region. i think they can be very valuable partners. i would love to know how we get them to play a more prominent role in the middle east. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> could i say that i thank you both, not only for your appearance here, but for your many years of outstanding service to the country. the council that you have provided too many presidents. you have proved it again before this committee. obviously, there are disagreements. i might make mention that the head said that he gave a speech saying that he believed that isis is planning an attack on the united states of america. i don't disagree with him. i think we changed the outlook of the american people about the degree of our involvement, if there was such a thing. hopefully, it will not happen.
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when we have thousands of young men going into this fight who will not be returning from the light -- fight it is not something that's beyond the realm of responsibility. i am honored to be in the presence of two individuals who have served our country and continue to do so. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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quest this saturday, live coverage of the iowa freedom summit begins at 10:00 eastern. governors rick perry, scott walker, and chris christie. former governor mike huckabee. businessman donald trump and carson. along with 2008 vice presidential nominee sarah palin.
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that is this saturday on c-span, c-span radio, and >> andrew keen, the author of "the internet is not the answer" about how the public is being used by internet companies for their own profit. >> people were used by the factory. they went from 9:00 until 5:00 and they did that money. we are all working in these factories like google facebook, and twitter. we are working 24 hours a day. we cannot acknowledge that we are creating value for them. worse than that, we are the ones being packaged as a product. what these companies are doing is learning more and more about us from our behavior from our photographs, our ideas, what we buy, what we say, what we do not say. they are transforming us.
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they are repackaging us as a product. we are the ones being sold. not only are we working for free, but we are being sold. it is the ultimate scam. it is the perfect hitchcock movie. >> iran was the topic of today's foreign relations committee where tony blinken discussed the ongoing negotiations with iran. bob corker chairs this meeting.
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>> we are here to ask you to please not negotiate with more sanctions on iran. ranking member menendez, we employed to keep the peace. [indiscernible]
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[indiscernible] we want no new sanctions. the people of california want -- not new sanctions. >> i'm going to call the meeting to order. i would say to people in the audience that we would
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appreciate you refraining. we understand people have strong emotions about much of what happens in this committee and others and we hope you'll respect the work of the committee. i have never operated a gavel. i learned as a young man how to operate a hammer. i understand my staff told me to be a little more gentle with this, but i want to welcome everybody to the committee. we've switched sides. that was not symbolic. i understand just because of the number of seats it works better this way. i do want to welcome the new members of the committee and say that under senator menendez's leadership, i really believe that this committee has caused its profile to rise.
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we've passed a number of very important pieces of legislation out of this committee, and it's because of leadership it can happen. i want to thank him for that. i want to say to all the committee members we plan to certainly build upon that. we have a number of very important issues to deal with. a nation has put its truth in us -- it's trust in us to deal with issues in a sober way. i think the issue today that we'll be talking about really causes us to remind ourselves of the indispensable nature of u.s. leadership. i think the committee has, like any committee, we have important things to deal with and we have urgent things to deal with and we need to do both. what is important is for us to continue a committee to show the importance of u.s. strategic engagement and how that improves
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our economy and makes us safer at home. at the same time we need to make sure our taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. while it will take some time to build, i like for us to work towards a state department authorization. i think all of us know we haven't passed one since 2002. what that means is the state department is basically operating off of policies we passed 13 years ago. if we really want to leverage our efforts, what would make sense, i look forward to working with ranking member menendez in in a certain way, would be to make sure what the state department is doing is leveraging those kinds of things we would like to see happen. i don't want to shy away from difficult issues. this first hearing is evidence of that. i want to make sure the views of all committee members are heard. i want to make sure we strengthen our nation in the process. today we're here to talk about iran.
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i want to say to our witnesses thank you for being here i think there are legitimate concerns by almost everybody on this committee and it's not in any way disloyal, it's not an infringement on anybody else to say we have legitimate concerns. when you think about where we are in iran negotiations, we have six security resolutions, u.n. security resolutions that call for full suspension of enrichment, we then move to the standard called practical needs. in other words, if you're in iran and you have -- if you want to do enrichment, even though in -- that is in violation of security council resolutions what is the practical need for , the country. by all estimation that's maybe 500 centrifuges, yet we know the
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negotiations have moved way beyond that. we know that. we talked about dismantlement, we have concerns about what that means. some people say it's disconnecting the plumbing to use very coarse terms. people are concerned about research and development. we spend time talking about hour --r one and two, talking six, way beyond that. the agreement itself doesn't speak to ballistic missile development, significant concerns for all of us. we believe, although i'm not sure this is the case. i had a meeting last night and maybe this is not true. i know some of you can enlighten us here today, but we're concerned about what we're really going to cause iran to do relative to their past military
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intentions. most of us think they are way down the road, since 2003 and we'd like to understand the type of technology they have developed. and i know this, and y'all have shared this with us in all kinds of meetings, they still are stiff-arming iaea relative to access to many of their facilities, which obviously continues to cause us to have great concerns about their trustworthiness. i think all of us know they are destabilizing the region. we watch what happened in yemen, hezbollah and iran. we watch what's happening with hamas. we know they are even with the minor amounts of money that has been lessened from the sanctions regime that senator menendez and senator kirk and all of us work together to put in place, even with that minor amount of money,
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we know that that has enhanced their ability to destabilize the region. we know that. you can imagine if we end up with a really bad deal that ends up creating a nuclear arms race in the region and makes the world less safe and yet much more money is released, they can even destabilize the region more. so obviously there's significant concerns. i'm proposing some legislation and i look forward to hearing from y'all today. we're vetting it with people on this committee that builds off the one, two, three agreements that we have in place right now. senator markey is familiar with this. 27 times this nags has approved -- this nation has approved a one, two, three agreement with another nation under civil nuclear arrangements. y'all reach an agreement with a country and we approve it. secretary kerry came in and said he wants to make sure any agreement that happens passes muster with congress. i'd like to understand today how you'd like to see us pass muster. one way to do it is an up or
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down vote. i know there's been a lot of discussions. i know senator menendez will speak to this. a lot of discussions about what we might do and might not do. i've talked to prime minister cameron. i talked to the uk -- excuse me, european union negotiator last night in my office. some of us were in israel this weekend over this very same issue. we have heard no one, no one say that if congress were to weigh in on the final agreement, it would have anything -- it would in any way destabilize negotiations. as a matter of fact, we understand iran's parliament may have to approve their agreement. so i hope today you'll share with us the appropriate role for us to play. we obviously have our own thoughts. we thank you for being here. with that i'm sorry to give such a long opening comment to ranking member menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me also welcome colleagues on the committee. it's an extraordinary committee
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to serve on, confluence of national economics of united -- security of the and not -- united states, the economics of united states, in a global context as well as major issues for which america is exceptional on democracy, human rights among other issues. i welcome you. i think you'll find an extraordinary experience. of since this is the first hearing that we've had of the new committee, i want to congratulate the chairman on his ascendancy to the chairmanship. during the two years i was chairman, we worked extraordinarily well, and in a collaborative fashion and in the midst of partisanship in the senate as a whole this committee was an island of bipartisanship on so many major issues that overwhelmingly passed the committee in almost every instance with strong bipartisan support. we look forward to working with
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you in the same context, same comity and same goals at the end of the day. we look forward to you having a very successful chairmanship of the committee. i want to, in the context of the hearing, say that i shared your concerns that the iranians are playing for time. over the past 18 months, we have been moving closer to their positions on all key elements. on the iraq reactor, on enrichment and iran's disclosure of the military dimensions of its nuclear program. i think we need to review how we got to this point. iran over the course of 20 years deceived the international community, and violated not u.s. but u.n. security council
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resolution toss arrive within -- two--to arrive within weeks of achieving nuclear breakout capacity. iran came to the table only after the cumulative impact of years of sanctions began to affect the region's economic and political stability. for us to give up the leverage of sanctions, which would take years to reimpose, we need a deal that truly reverses their nuclear program rather than just buying a little time. this is why i'm concerned about more than breakout time. i'm concerned the agreement won't provide a clear picture of the military dimensions of iran's program, which are critical to understand to know how far down the road they were as it relates to weaponization so we understand the time frames of any breakout capacity vis-a-vis weaponization, so we
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know just how close iran is being to make a nuclear weapon. i'm concerned instead of dismantling and closing iraq and fordot, as we were told by the beginning of the administration, the iran iraq reactor will be converted and the facility built under a mountain, which i don't think you do for civilian purposes, will be repurposed. after 18 months of stalling, iran needs to know there will be consequences for failure. some of us think that should be additional sanctions. while we are playing nice, however, iran is playing an asymmetrical game violating, in my view, the spirit and intent of sanctions. in november iran violated
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interim agreement by feeding iranian gas into it's irr --ir5 centrifuge at the research facility. the issue whether it's a violation of the interim agreement is only an issue because at the time of the interim agreement ir 5 had not been used tore enrichment and, hence, the agreement only prohibited iran from making advances on the ir 6. that is spin if i've ever heard it. but in any case, the action clearly violated the intent of the agreement to halt enrichment advances at and violated security resolutions. it's interesting to know talking about verification agreements, should we be able to get an agreement, it was a group of scientists outside of the administration that noticed this and were the ones to inform the administration about it. so that makes me worried about
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how the verification process is moving forward. in december the u.n. panel of experts that monitors sanctions compliance said in a report that iran has been illicitly trying to purchase technology for the research reactor, which as originally designed, would produce plutonium for a bomb and has been referred to by experts as a bomb making factory because of the quantity of plutonium output. under the interim agreement, iran agreed to make no further advances in the construction at arak. iran's position any purchases alone would not contravene the agreement only new construction. well, if you believe that, i have a reactor to sell to you. just last week, iranian president rouhani announced construction had begun on two new nuclear reactors at bashir. while not a technical of the -- violation of the joint plan
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of action, the announcement is clearly intended to leverage further games in the negotiation. the very next day the iranian regime announced "washington post" correspondent, who has been in prison for 178 days had been referred to the revolutionary court that handles sensitive national security cases. as "the washington post" said in a recent editorial, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that he's been used as a human pawn in the regime's attempt to gain leverage in the negotiations. we have this whole alternate track the iranians can cheat on. because it's technically not in the joint plan of action, well we don't call them on it. that's a great opportunity if you can get it. that you can advance your interest out of the jpoa and quote, unquote, not violate jpoa. let me close by saying iran is clearly taking steps that can only be interpreted as provocative, yet the
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administration appears willing to excuse away connection between these developments and signs of iran's bad faith negotiations. it seems we are allowing iran to shuffle the deck and deal the cards in this negotiation that we're playing dealers choice. frankly, that's not good enough. we need to get into the game. now, up until now, iran has not been motivated sufficiently to make tough decisions. and i hope there will be an agreement in march. but i also believe we need to make clear there are consequences to no deal, or to a bad deal, as senator corker is referring to, and i'm intrigued by his most recent concept of legislation. so mr. chairman, thank you for holding the hearing and i'll look forward to hearing from our witnesses. >> thank you mr. ranking member. i'm not used to calling you that. to the other members, i'm going
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to say we don't normally give those comments on the front end. they are usually shorter. this is obviously one that evokes a lot of concern. we're going to be having -- the committee will operate by early byrd rule. if you're here when the gavel goes down, you'll know what order you're in. we've watched people come and sit and wait as other people come in and out. but in order to show we're not going to be totally rigid i know that senator boxer has a meeting. we don't normally have other opening comments. she's not going to ask questions later, but since she has to go to another meeting she wanted to say a couple of words on the front end. i'm going to allow her to do that. >> mr. chairman, thank you for your generosity of spirit. senator inhofe called our organizational meeting for dpw down the hall and i have to be there. i so appreciate this. i want to thank both my chairman and ranking member now for this hearing. we're all here today with the same goal. and that is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. but we have different thoughts about the best way to do that. and that's why this hearing is so critical. and we welcome the witness


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